Shamrock Rovers and UCD played out a one-all draw in tonight's Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Tallaght Stadium.
In a match that will be seen as two points dropped by the home side and a point gained by the visitors.
Having started slowly, the match finished with a frantic Rovers trying to find the second goal they will have felt they deserved.
A thoroughly scrappy opening quarter saw neither side create much in the way of chances, or even string a decent run of passes together.
It was the visitors, however, who created the first chance.
Stephen Rice was caught in possession in midfield by Craig Walsh, who stormed forward and unleashed a shot from 25 yards. It looked like it might curl into the top corner, but grazed the angle of post and bar.
The opening goal, while hardly a classic, will be remembered by scorer Eamon Zayed as it was his first for his new club.
A shot from Stephen Rice was blocked down on the edge of the box and after some ensuing pinball it fell to Pat Sullivan, who found Zayed with space and time to slot calmly past Mark McGinley and give the home side the lead.
The goal settled Rovers and they found their groove soon after, passing the ball better and looking more threatening and in control.
The first of what turned out to be quite a few first-half Rovers’ corners did not come until the 31st minute. Sean O’Connor’s delivery
was met by the fists of McGinley whose punched clearance found Ken Oman.
The centre-half’s shot was sliced high and again punched by the College keeper who looked decidedly uncomfortable under the high ball.
Another corner three minutes later was met by the keeper’s fists again and he was somewhat lucky when the resulting Rice shot was deflected into his arms.
Oman should have hit the target had a header from a further corner and Ronan Finn will be disappointed at his effort three minutes from the break.
Good work from James Chambers and Rice through the middle set Finn away, but he sent his shot wide.
Rice himself was guilty of failing to hit the target on the stroke of half time. Seán O’Connor’s ball over the top was met by his namesake David, playing centre-half for UCD, but his attempted headed clearance fell to Rice who shot wide.
After the break, Rovers continued to dominate both territory and possession, but were reeled back in by College in the 65th minute.
UCD counter-attacked quickly when a Shamrock Rovers move broke down. Dean Clarke sent in a superb cross from the right-hand side for Robbie Benson, whose header was equally excellent, and too good for Richard Brush in the Rovers’ goal.
The question from there was always going to be could UCD hang on, or would Shamrock Rovers find a second?
And as the home side continued to spurn chances, including captain Pat Sullivan dragging a shot wide in the 77th minute, the tension among the Rovers supporters grew.
With just over two minutes on the clock, Seán O’Connor sent a shot right across the face of the box.
When sub Gary McCabe sent it back in, McGinley again decided on punching. It fell first to Conor McCormack whose shot was blocked and then Stephen Rice had an effort blocked down before Karl Sheppard saw his effort cleared off the line.
McGinley was called into action again after punching a cross to Seán O’Connor. This time the UCD keeper pulled off a magnificent save with his legs.
UCD did hang on though and the final whistle was greeted by boos from the home supporters and an angry reaction from some Shamrock Rovers players, notably Rice who was booked after the final whistle.
Shamrock Rovers: Richard Brush, Pat Sullivan, Conor Powell, Derek Foran, Ken Oman, Thomas Stewart (Karl Sheppard 74), Ronan Finn (Gary McCabe 86), Seán O’Connor, Stephen Rice, James Chambers (Conor McCormack HT), Eamon Zayed.
UCD: Mark McGinley, Gareth Matthews, Mark Langtry, David O’Connor, Hugh Douglas, Craig Walsh (Barry McCabe 86), Robbie Creevy, James Kavanagh, Robert Benson, Dean Clarke, Seán Russell.
Referee: P McLaughlin.